No shots were fired but phone calls and messages rang out. I raised a glass, did my happy dance and slept better that night. Finally, it was crossed off my list of long-term goals. I’d written the last word. I’d finished my book!
I woke up a week later and realized I knew nothing of publishing. All my literature courses would not help me now. Calling Stephen King or F. Scott Fitzgerald for publishing advice was out of the question for obvious reasons and as a homemaker and mother for the last 17 years, my connections in any world other than carpool were few.
For those who have not written a novel, it is truly like having a child – birth or adopted. And publishing is like sending your child to school for the first time. Your precious gift is sent into the world—brace yourself because everyone has an opinion on how it measures up and where it falls short.
Every rejection feels like a punch in the gut. I’m getting better at taking my “novel punches.” Part of me knows it’s not the book on the shelf that mattered to C. S. Lewis, Tolkien or Jane Austin but it was their moments of writing and of creating something that inspired, something that enlightened or something that entertained.
I love seeing the desk of a successful author. It’s where they sat when their muse visited. That’s where they found their greatest writing joy.
Since I’ve written the last word I’ve learned about publishing. I know about query letters, literary agents and the different kinds of publishing: commercial, academic and self-publishing.
I’ve learned that genres of books seem to have multiple subgenres that I didn’t know existed. For example, one of my favorite pass times is going into a bookstore with my daughter. She says, “Momma when your book is here, where will it be?” And off we go, searching the aisles for fiction, historical fiction and finally to alternate history, a subgenre of science fiction.
I announce, “It would be here.” She smiles and we look at a few books in that section. I pick up a historical fiction with an alternate history about the Civil War. It sits somewhere close to J. R. R. Tolkien. I breathe a sigh of satisfaction and then glance at the bookshelf next to it. Some frightening creatures don the covers of those books. They represent the supernatural craze of vampires and werewolves. Poor Tolkien, I’m not sure he’d like his neighbors.
My novel, Jumpin’ the Rails, will sit on a shelf close to Tolkien sometime before the end of 2015. It is currently in a three-phase edit, which is the last phase before it’s published.
And for now, that’s the last word.
Photo Credit: Amy McDow photographed this 1860s fundraising event at the Griggs House. Her photographs will be published in Jumpin’ the Rails. She specializes in custom portrait photography. Please visit her site at http://www.theartisticmoment.com